Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: July 2007


Frieze, turkey!
2007-07-31 21:59
by Bob Timmermann

The press release on the logo for the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, an event everyone was waiting for with great longing, states:

The official logo of the 2008 All-Star Game is traditional and simple in nature, symbolic of the Yankee franchise, and incorporates the club's signature pinstripes and the architectural element of the famed Yankee Stadium façade.

However, when you go to the story, written by Bryan Hoch, accuracy triumphs:

The All-Star Game logo, which was unveiled from a select spot atop the Yankee Stadium scoreboard along its storied and trademark frieze, prominently features aspects paying homage to the stage upon which the game will be played. Yankee Stadium's historic facade plays a headlining role, in addition to the team's classic pinstripes.

What's worse? Calling a frieze a facade or insisting on making sure the cedilla is added to the "c" in "façade?"

Cocaine found at Beck's house at time of death
2007-07-31 21:45
by Bob Timmermann

Phoenix police stated Tuesday that large amounts of cocaine in various forms was found at Rod Beck's home at the time of his death, according to the Arizona Republic.

Beck's ex-wife, Stacey, said she was certain that her former husband died of a cocaine overdose.

When she learned that her father had died, the Becks' younger daughter, Kelsey, 12, told her mother, "Daddy shouldn't die without helping someone else."

"That's the only reason I'm talking about this," Stacey said. "The point of putting it out there is that someone else who has the disease can get some help, can get some comfort, can get some understanding and empathy. That would be the reason to tell it, not just to air dirty laundry."

"And no child should have to be ashamed because her daddy was addicted."

The NL West hitting coach purge continues
2007-07-31 20:47
by Bob Timmermann

The Padres fired hitting coach Merv Rettenmund today and replaced him with Wally Joyner.

Three of the five hitting coaches for NL West teams have been fired this year: Eddie Murray in Los Angeles, Kevin Seitzer in Arizona, and now Rettenmund.

Alan Cockrell in Colorado and Joe Lefebvre in San Francisco are the last two standing. I believe there is a tonteen tontine involved.

Book review: The Black Prince of Baseball by Donald Dewey and Nicholas Alcocella
2007-07-31 08:00
by Bob Timmermann

Until I read the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract back in 1985, I had never heard of Hal Chase. And from that book, I assumed that Chase had to be the most evil character who ever lived. James wrote, “There is an evil, a smallness, lust, and greed that lives inside all of us. And the secret of Hal Chase, I believe, was that he was able to reach out and embrace the evil.”

In 2004, authors Donald Dewey and Nicholas Acocella set out to write a thorough examination of the life of one of baseball’s most infamous players in The Black Prince of Baseball:  Hal Chase and the Mythology of the Game. And while Dewey and Acocella show Chase’s life with its considerable foibles and failings, such as game fixing, alcoholism, marital infidelities, kleptomania, and contract jumping, they won't explicitly condemn Chase.

Chase was regarded in his day as one of the greatest fielding first basemen, although today he might be considered reckless. Chase felt that he could get to any ball and make any throw. Whether or not Chase was actually going to be able to turn the play into an out was another matter.  But Chase did have range factors at first base way above the league average. Chase was considered to be such a good fielder that he even played second base, shortstop, and third a few times, despite being a left-handed thrower. Like Rickey Henderson, Chase hit right-handed, but threw lefty.

The authors make it clear that they don’t want to make a moral judgment about Chase. They just want to present the facts. And there are a lot of facts in this book. Dewey and Acocella thoroughly researched Chase’s life and tried to separate the myth from reality. And that’s not an inconsiderable task since Chase was a larger than life character and he loved to spin yarns and people liked to spin yarns about him as well. No one makes up stories about third string catchers. Or if they do, no one cares unless they're about Moe Berg.

So was Chase as bad as James thinks? Or was Chase just another corrupt player in a corrupt age? Dewey and Acocella resolutely refuse to make a stance. You’ll have to make your way through the book. If you want a book that is full of salacious stories, this is not the book for you. But if you want a thorough examination of the seamier side of the Deadball Era, then you will find this a great book to dive into. But since Hal Chase is involved, check to make sure you still have your wallet.

Mound City days
2007-07-30 19:13
by Bob Timmermann

I returned yesterday from a six-day trip to St. Louis, which was a combination of family and attending the 37th SABR convention. And although I only spent a couple of days at my brother's house, I realized that the trip was mostly about family. (If you want to read about the convention, Chris Jaffe has a nice writeup at the Hardball Times.)

If you've read here before, I often poke fun at St. Louis and its environs and, especially, Cardinals fans. However, my family comes from St. Louis (my mother and her mother were born there) and its environs (my father and his father and his father's father were born in Breese, Illinois). And all the members of my family that live in the area are diehard Cardinals fans as my parents were before they moved to California in 1960.

St. Louis is not an easy town to love. It doesn't have good weather. It isn't overloaded with cultural opportunities. The cuisine is not the most exciting. The city is not as culturally diverse as Los Angeles.

Yet, I don't think I've ever been in any place where I felt the weight of history, both on a small and large scale, hitting me so often.

Continue reading...

Random Record of the Week #18
2007-07-30 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Page 338 – Most consecutive errorless games by a pitcher in ALCS play – Mariano Rivera, 25 games

One of the more deceptive records in baseball is consecutive errorless games by a pitcher, as the record is dominated by relief pitchers, especially closers, who come in for one inning most of the time and get a lot of strikeouts.

So Rivera's spotless fielding in the ALCS is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind about Rivera in postseason play. In 73 postseason appearances, Rivera has made only one error and he saved it for the worst possible time unfortunately, the ninth of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. That is also the only postseason loss for Rivera. Presently, Rivera has made only six errors in the regular season and none in the Division Series.

But in the ALCS, Rivera has been flawless in the field. However, in his 25 ALCS appearances, Rivera has only had 21 chances, 10 assists and 11 putouts. He's also participated in two double plays, one in Game 1 of the 1999 ALCS and the other Game 1 of the 2004 ALCS.

There's also only one been one runner to steal a base against Rivera in the ALCS, Dave Roberts in Game 4 of the ALCS. I believe that ended up being important. Something was written about it somewhere. Johnny Damon, however, was caught stealing in Game 5 of the ALCS.

Rivera's most important numbers in ALCS play remain these: 38 2/3 innings pitched, 25 games, 10 saves, 4 wins, 0 losses, 28 hits allowed and 5 walks allowed to 145 batters, and 29 strikeouts, and just 4 earned runs allowed (one each in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004) for an ERA of 0.93.

Jeff Nelson has the second longest streak among pitchers in the ALCS at 19 consecutive errorless games. He handled four chances in those 19 games. Tom Glavine has not made an error in 17 NLCS games and none in any of his 35 postseason games over 53 chances.

Sources: Retrosheet,, Sporting News Complete Baseball Record Book

Bill Robinson, 1943-2007
2007-07-29 18:29
by Bob Timmermann

Former major leaguer Bill Robinson passed away Sunday at the age of 64, apparently in Denver, although the wire service story is unclearRobinson passed away in Las Vegas.

Robinson, who was working as the Dodgers minor league hitting instructor, played in the majors for sixteen seasons. He played for the Braves, Yankees, Phillies, and Pirates. Robinson played on the Pirates 1979 World Series championship team.

Thanks to Dodgers49 for the tip.

And this one goes to 14...
2007-07-29 16:17
by Bob Timmermann

The Braves snapped Arizona's 8-game winning streak with a 14-0 shutout win over the DBacks at Chase Field.

The Braves scored in each of the first seven times at bat before calling off the dogs. Braves manager Bobby Cox sent reliever Peter Moylan up to pinch hit in the 9th and he grounded into a DP.

Arizona had just five hits in the game, but two were triples. The Brewers were the last team to get shutout when hitting two triples in a game and that was back on July 21, 1999 against the Phillies. On June 23, 1963, the Phillies were shut out by Carl Willey of the Mets on just two hits, both of them triples.

Chipper Jones drove in five runs while going 1 for 1. That feat was last done by Keith Ginter of the A's on May 20, 2005 against the Giants. Other players who have done it are Candy Maldonado, Mickey Tettleton, and Bill Voss.


This one goes to 11!
2007-07-29 11:31
by Bob Timmermann

Jason Jennings of the Astros gave up 11 runs (all earned) to the Padres at home today in the first inning. He was taken out with two outs and replaced by Mark McLemore.

This hadn't happened since ... last year on August 13, 2006 when Luke Hudson gave up 11 runs (10 earned) for the Royals against Cleveland.

There had been no prior instances in the last 50 years according to the Play Index of any other pitching giving up more than 10 runs in the first inning of a start, although I'm certain it has happened before.

Make that 100% certain, the MLB record for runs allowed in an inning by a pitcher is 16 by Tony Mullane of Baltimore against Boston (NL) on June 18, 1894 in the first game of a doubleheader. That happened in the 1st inning. Boston won that game 24-7. Mullane was at the end of a fairly distinguished career.

The AL record for runs allowed in an inning is 13 by Lefty O'Doul of the Red Sox on July 7, 1923 in the sixth inning of the first game of a doubleheader against Cleveland. The Indians won 27-3. Stories have circulated that O'Doul had upset Red Sox manager Frank Chance and the manager left him out to take a beating. O'Doul went back to the minors in 1924 and came back as an outfielder in 1928 with the Giants and batted .349 in his career.

Hal Kelleher of the Phillies gave up 12 runs on May 5, 1938 in the 8th inning to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.


A funny thing happened on the way to last place
2007-07-28 20:16
by Bob Timmermann

After the Cardinals lost 12-2 to the Brewers Friday night in what some of my colleagues at the SABR Convention described as "one of the worst baseball games ever witnessed," the funeral cortege for the 2007 season decided to reverse course and, for one day, marched itself back to the land of the living.

Continue reading...

Bases loaded catcher's interferences
2007-07-28 08:12
by Bob Timmermann

Thanks to the help of Sean Forman of, I have a list of bases loaded catcher's interferences since 1957. Magglio Ordonez had one last night against the Angels and there hadn't been one in that situation since ... April 19. Eric Byrnes turned the trick against the Padres that day. (Update - Nelson Cruz of the Rangers had a bases-loaded catcher's interference on August 4, 2007 against the Blue Jays.)

The others include:

In the 1971 game that ended on catcher's interference, it occurred in the bottom of the 11th in a 4-4 game between the Dodgers and Reds. With the bases loaded and two outs, Manny Mota attempted to steal home. Johnny Bench came up from behind the plate and stood in front of it to get the pitch and then tagged Mota. However, since Crawford did not have the chance to swing the bat because Bench was standing in front of him and out of the catcher's box too, Bench was charged with catcher's interference and Gibbon was also credited with a balk under Rule 7.07.

If, with a runner on third base and trying to score by means of a squeeze play or a steal, the catcher or any other fielder steps on, or in front of home base without possession of the ball, or touches the batter or his bat, the pitcher shall be charged with a balk, the batter shall be awarded first base on the interference and the ball is dead.

Here is Retrosheet's description of that inning.

DODGERS 11TH: FOSTER STAYED IN GAME (PLAYING CF); GIBBON REPLACED MCRAE (PITCHING); FERGUSON BATTED FOR HALLER; Ferguson singled to left; Parker reached on an error by Gibbon on a sacrifice bunt [Ferguson to second, Parker to first]; Gibbon threw a wild pitch [Ferguson to third, Parker to second]; Wills was called out on strikes; Mota was walked intentionally; Buckner was hit by a pitch [Ferguson scored (unearned), Parker to third, Mota to second]; Allen forced Parker (shortstop to catcher) [Mota to third, Buckner to second]; Gibbon balked [Mota stayed at third, Buckner stayed at second, Allen stayed at first]; rule 6.08(c) C Int and balk!! Bench per TSN stepped in front of plate on Mota SBH attempt and tagged him but that is interference-bases loaded so Crawford given RBI but in exact same situation in different year batter 0 RBI we are unable to sow this as one play xCC4: rule should be changed for BL cases to ignore balk; Crawford reached on catcher's interference by Bench [Mota scored (unearned) (RBI), Buckner to third, Allen to second]; 2 R (0 ER), 1 H, 2 E, 3 LOB. Reds 4, Dodgers 5.
Baseball's Best Fans are not waterproof
2007-07-27 22:02
by Bob Timmermann

At each SABR convention, there is a baseball game that is added on and this year in St. Louis, the game was Friday night's tilt between the Brewers and Cardinals at Busch Stadium. The Brewers would win easily in a rain soaked game, 12-2, as Milwaukee feasted on the not quite so fearsome pitching trio of Mike Maroth, Kelvin Jimenez, and Randy Kiesler. The Brewers got 19 hits, including four by Kevin Mench and three by Corey Hart and Bill Hall.

Continue reading...

Where in the world?
2007-07-27 12:08
by Bob Timmermann

It's in the Flickr photo group, but I'll post it here.

Where is this place? I need a city and the name of this place within that city.




The first person to email the answer, gets his or her name listed on the sidebar for a week! Members of my immediate family are not eligible. Your user name is subject to change if I think it's unacceptable.

WINNER! - It's DXMachina, who correctly tabbed this as the Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, IL. Specifically, this is called Monk's Mound and it is the largest prehistoric structure in North America north of Mexico City that is still extant. It is about 100 feet high and was built by an ancient culture called the Mississippians.

Presumably the staircase on the side wasn't built by them.


Lofton goes back to Cleveland
2007-07-27 10:40
by Bob Timmermann
Kenny Lofton will make his second triumphal return to Cleveland and third trip overall after the Rangers traded him for a minor leaguer.
Countdown or count up to 500 for Rodriguez?
2007-07-26 21:03
by Bob Timmermann

The Yankees will take on the Orioles tomorrow to complete a suspended game from June 28. The game will resume with the Yankees leading the Orioles 8-6 in the top of the eighth.

If Alex Rodriguez hits a home run in the balance of that game (he'll be on deck when the game begins), it will become home run #493. Which means the home run Rodriguez hit back on Wednesday in Kansas City would no longer be home run #499, but rather home run #500.

That's because baseball's rules require that no stats from a suspended game be counted until the game is over and all events that take place during the suspended game are considered to have occurred on the day of the original game, i.e. June 28.

Rodriguez saved home run ball #499(?) from Kansas City just to be on the safe side. If that turns out to be home run #500, Gil Meche will be in the books for that milestone. But if the Orioles relief crew can hold down Rodriguez, then it may be someone else.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley won't say who will be coming out to start the suspended game. The pitcher in the game at the time, Chris Ray, has gone on the disabled list. But Miguel Tejada has gone on the DL and come back in the interim.

Fungible fun at the SABR Convention
2007-07-26 16:37
by Bob Timmermann

Checking in from my room at the Adam's Mark Hotel in St. Louis, I am amazed by the hotel's description of its frequent guest program, which is stated on the key card.

"Join the Simplest, Most Fungible Valued Guest Program There Is."

Fungible! Now there's a word the boys in marketing must have liked it. But I like the hotel because when I checked in today, all they had left for me was a suite and for a few days I'm staying in a hotel room that is likely bigger than my own apartment. For starters, my apartment does not have a bar in it. Or four different types of chairs.

I started off my day taking a tour of Busch Stadium and also visited the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, which also shares space with the International Bowling Hall of Fame. I also attended an author's panel at the St. Louis Public Library, where I am glad I don't have to work because all the librarians wear matching red golf shirts. However, the 2007 World Series trophy is on display in the library, so they have that going for it over the library where I work.

I'll be contributing photos to a Flickr group as the convention goes on.



Where is he?
2007-07-25 13:29
by Bob Timmermann
I could tell these guys as I saw his house today. But I won't say where. It is not a small house.
Live from the St. Louis Metrolink
2007-07-24 10:07
by Bob Timmermann
Coming to you from the light rail of St.Louis. It is a beautiful day here in the Mound City. Phoenix was snarled by a rain storm and my flight was delayed an hour, but I am in no hurry, so I just napped. Numerous people dressed in red have boarded the train. People in Cubs gear were seen at the airport. Hide the kids folks.
Greetings from Phoenix
2007-07-24 10:07
by Bob Timmermann
Phoenix SkyHarbor! It's not just for layovers! Except for me. I'm waiting for a flight to come in from Sacramento which will get me on a flight for the Gateway City, which would then keeps going on to the City of Brotherly Love. Such exciting details of my life are why you stop by to read here isn't it?
Coaches react to Coolbaugh's death
2007-07-23 21:46
by Bob Timmermann

The death of Tulsa Drillers coach Mike Coolbaugh after being hit with a line drive Sunday has resonated through baseball and base coaches in the majors are concerned according to an AP report.

San Diego Padres third-base coach Glenn Hoffman wears a plastic protector under his cap ever since after getting knocked unconscious by a line drive.

"I got hit in Kansas City in batting practice, and from that day on I wear a helmet," he said. "It's a protective shield in the hat. Before that, I had a helmet out there after I got hit. It doesn't cover the ears or anything, but at least you have some protection for the top of the head."


Padres first base coach Bobby Meacham admitted there's times he's not watching the batter.

"Sometimes my back's to home plate or I'm watching the first baseman and sometimes I don't watch the hitter. But I know I can tell when the ball's coming in my direction by the sound of the bat or the movement of the guy's I'm watching," he said.

Said Astros first base coach Jose Cruz: "You've got to be lucky as well as alert. This should be a real wakeup call for all coaches on the line."


Detroit first base coach Andy Van Slyke said: "If we're concerned about the safety of the coaches, I would say we should be more concerned about the safety of the fans and have everyone in the first 20 rows wear helmets because they're in more danger than any coach on the field.

"I thought it was just a matter of time before someone was killed in the stands, to be honest with you, either by a flying bat or a ball."

Also see Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Chicago Tribune stories.

Mound City bound
2007-07-23 20:03
by Bob Timmermann

I'll be heading off to America's Finest City on the Mississippi, St. Louis, tomorrow to visit with family and attend the SABR convention. The convention starts Thursday and I hope to have reports and some interesting photos. Or perhaps uninteresting ones.

On Friday, I'll be at Busch Stadium with Baseball's Best Fans™ to see the Redbirds take on the Brewers.

So, if the catcher's interference alarm is rung, it may take me a while to update the site. But rest assured, it will be updated.


Mike Coolbaugh, 1972-2007
2007-07-23 07:20
by Bob Timmermann

Tulsa Drillers coach Mike Coolbaugh died Sunday night in North Little Rock, Arkansas as the result of being hit in the head by a line drive while coaching at first base. Coolbaugh was 35 years old.

News accounts say that Coolbaugh fell instantly after being struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Tulsa's Tino Sanchez. The game between Arkansas and Tulsa was suspended immediately. Coolbaugh passed away less than an hour later.

Coolbaugh had played in the majors for the Brewers and Cardinals and his older brother Scott played in the majors as well.

People who have lived in Southern California have probably long heard Vin Scully going on about how base coaches should wear batting helmets. And a lot of us have thought Vin was just being something of an alarmist. I don't know if this tragedy will make it more likely for coaches to start wearing head protection, but perhaps the time has come. All minors who work on the field as a bat boys or ball boys are required to helmets. National high school rules require players who are serving as base coaches (which is fairly common) to wear helmets.

I think coaches are aware of the risk. Here is a photo I took last year of Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo when Albert Pujols Scott Rolen was at bat.





Rollie Stiles, 1906-2007
2007-07-23 07:19
by Bob Timmermann

Another death in baseball occurred Sunday, but this was much different. 100-year old Rollie Stiles, who pitched for the St. Louis Browns in 1930, 1931, and 1933 passed away at a nursing home in St. Louis County, Missouri.

Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has an obituary.

Random Record of the Week #17
2007-07-23 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Page 172 – Most career pinch hit home runs, Minnesota Twins – 8 by Bob Allison.

Hey, didn't we do this page before? Yes, we did. But my random number generator didn't toss out duplicates, so back we go with more fascinating records of the Minnesota Twins.

Or in this case, perhaps a nonfascinating one.

In 3 years with the Washington Senators and 10 more the Minnesota Twins after the franchise moved, Bob Allison hit 256 home runs, with a high of 35 in 1963. For most of his career, Allison was always the second or third biggest star on the Twins behind either Harmon Killebrew or Tony Oliva. Yet he made three AL All-Star teams and won a Rookie of the Year (as a Senator) in 1959.

Continue reading...

Hot time, summer in the Mound City
2007-07-22 21:55
by Bob Timmermann

As I'm heading off to St. Louis Tuesday, I checked the National Weather Service forecast for the area. And it wasn't too bad with highs in the 80s. There was a link to the 10 hottest days in recorded history in the area. The record for St. Louis is 115 on July 14, 1954. The second hottest day was on July 18, 1954 when the mercury reached 112.

The Cardinals didn't have a home game on July 14, but they were home for a doubleheader on Sunday July 18 against the Phillies. And boy it must have been a fun day at Busch Stadium.

In the opener, the Phillies came from behind twice to win in 10 innings, 11-10. The Cardinals used seven pitchers in the game and the Phillies used four. The game took 3:31 to play. Not counting a 78-minute rain delay. And now there was another game to play.

But there were two problems. One was that since the doubleheader started during the day, it had to finish in daylight under the rules of the day. Also, it was going to keep raining. So, you've got 112-degree heat combined with thunderstorms. Wow, sounds like fun. Still over 18,000 people showed up.

In the second game, the Phillies grabbed an early 8-1 lead which they took in to the top of the fifth. Cardinals manager Eddie Stanky figured that the best way to avoid a loss was to stall. Stanky changed pitchers twice in the fifth inning. Eventually, the benches started yelling at each other. Finally, Phillies first baseman Earl Torgeson and Cardinals catcher Sal Yvars got into it and started fighting. And then, the benches cleared

Finally, home plate umpire Babe Pinelli tired of Stanky's antics and he ordered the second game forfeited to the Phillies.

There have been only five forfeits in the majors since that extremely muggy day in 1954.

Source: New York Times


Lots and lots of hits
2007-07-22 19:10
by Bob Timmermann

In the second game of their doubleheader against Tampa Bay yesterday, the Yankees picked up 20 hits. And in today's game, they had 25. The Phillies had 26 hits against the Dodgers Tuesday night.

According to the's Play Index, there have been just five other teams to string together back-to-back 20+ hits games in the last 50 years. The last team to do it was the Cubs back in 2003. The 45 total hits in consecutive games is more than any of the other teams listed in the link above.

The Sporting News Record Book lists a record for hits in "consecutive games and doubleheaders", but then only lists records for doubleheaders. The AL record for most hits in a doubleheader is by the 1939 Yankees, who had 43 against Philadelphia on June 28. The Yankees had 27 hits in the opener and 16 in the nightcap, winning 23-2 and 10-0. The Bombers hit 8 homers in the first game and 5 in the nightcap. The 1939 Philadelphia A's gave up 1,022 runs, so they have much in common with the 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who are on a pace to give up the same number of runs. Of the Yankees 43 hits in that doubleheader, none of them were triples. Of the 45 hits the last two days, the Yankees had one triple, by Robinson Cano on Sunday.

The NL record for hits in a doubleheader is 46 by the Pirates against the Phillies on August 8, 1922.


Oh no! More of Ken Burns on baseball?
2007-07-22 12:28
by Bob Timmermann

An item in the Metromix section of the Chicago Tribune says that filmmaker Ken Burns is hoping to add an another chapter to the Berlin Alexanderplatz of baseball documentaries. (Actually, Fassbinder's film is shorter!)

...Burns wants to add footage of the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa chase to break Roger Maris' single-season homer record in 1998 and the steroid controversy that soon followed, leading up to Bonds. "We're looking to make a '10th inning' to update it with all the dramatic stuff that has gone on since we brought out our last series," Burns told us ...

To prepare for this eventuality, Burns has already pieced together narration from Ossie Davis, John Chancellor, Buck O'Neil, Shelby Foote, and Stephen Jay Gould. We will learn that steroids were a big problem for baseball fans in New York, Boston, Chicago, and several other unnamed American cities. (Yes, I know they've passed away. It's part of the joke.)

Doris Kearns Goodwin will relate a tale of how her father asked her every day when he got home from work, "So, did Gil Hodges test positive today for HGH?"


Luis Vizcaino, history awaits you!
2007-07-21 20:42
by Bob Timmermann

Luis Vizcaino was the winning pitcher in both of the Yankees wins today over Tampa Bay.

Vizcaino was the first pitcher to win both ends of a doubleheader since September 21, 2002 when Terry Adams won twice for the Phillies against Cincinnati.

The last AL pitcher to pull off the feat was Cory Bailey of Kansas City on May 26, 2002 against Texas.

Sources: The SABR Baseball List & Record Book, Retrosheet.

The Molina Era ends in Anaheim
2007-07-21 19:48
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Yankees acquired catcher Jose Molina from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for minor league pitcher Jeff Kennard.

Jose Molina made his major league debut with the Cubs in 1999, but later joined the Angels and made his debut, along with his brother Bengie in 2001, who left the Angels after the 2005 season.

The present backup catcher for the Yankees, Wil Nieves, was batting .164 and that was after a 2 for 3 game against Tampa Bay Saturday night.

Harris has very big night against Cardinals
2007-07-21 19:15
by Bob Timmermann

Willie Harris of the Braves had a 6 for 6 night against the Cardinals in Atlanta.

Harris had four singles and two triples and drove in six runs during the game. He also scored four runs.

The last Braves player to have a 6-hit game was Felix Millan on July 6, 1970 against the Giants. Five other Braves players have had 6-hit games, but they were all in Boston and in the 19th Century. Sam Wise (his nickname was not Gangees), King Kelly, Bobby Lowe, Fred Tenney, and Chick Stahl.

The last player to have a six-hit game that included two triples was Lance Johnson of the White Sox against the Twins on September 23, 1995. Johnson actually had three triples in that game. Harris is the first NL player with a 6-hit, 2-triple game since Larry Twitchell did so on August 15, 1889 for Cleveland. Twitchell hit for the cycle in the game with one single, one double, three triples, and a home run.


2007-07-21 16:24
by Bob Timmermann

In the current summary of today's Dodgers-Mets game by the AP there is this passage:

The only other pitcher to start 12-1 for the Dodgers since the exodus from Brooklyn was reliever Phil (The Vulture) Regan, who won 14 of his first 15 decisions in 1966. Three others got off to 11-1 starts in L.A. -- including Sandy Koufax (1966), Rick Rhoden (1976) and Doug Rau (1977).

Exodus? (The emphasis above is mine)

But in the case of the Dodgers, it was a Moses, namely Robert Moses, who was the pharaoh who kept hardening his heart. So is Walter O'Malley then the person playing the part of Moses?

Is Los Angeles the land flowing with milk and honey?

It would have been better if Aaron (Hank) had played for the Dodgers. I could work in more Biblical allusions.

Did the Dodgers wander throughout the United States for forty years looking for a new place to play? That may explain that pillar of fire that lingered over the U.S. for the last few decades. Did they serve manna at Vero Beach during spring training?

I'm getting really confused.

Or perhaps I should just picture Walter O'Malley singing this song.


People like this just don't get it
2007-07-20 22:33
by Bob Timmermann

A fan in Florida took a potential extra-base hit away from Miguel Cabrera by leaning over the right field fence to snag a fly ball off the bat of Cabrera before Norris Hopper of the Reds had a chance to catch it.

The idiot, 21-year old David Fridkin, said in AP story:

"I did something that anyone else would do," said Fridkin, 21, of Miami.

He said he didn't feel that bad about trying to make the catch and didn't think Cabrera would be angry about the grab. He said he might keep the ball atop his television set so he can see it when he watches Marlins games and be reminded of the only ball he ever caught at a major league game.

I bet Cabrera wanted a hit. And Fridkin should never be allowed in a major league stadium until he proves that he has some semblance of knowledge of the rules of baseball.



Parental Guidance suggested
2007-07-20 17:54
by Bob Timmermann

As I skimmed through the 10 games available on the MLB Extra Innings package on my cable system, I noticed that one game, San Francisco at Milwaukee, had a rating. All the others were unrated.

Parental guidance is suggested for the Giants-Brewers tilt. I wonder if Bill Schroeder is going to start working blue.

Designated to start off at the bottom
2007-07-20 16:30
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Yankees brought up Shelley Duncan from AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Duncan is the brother of Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan and the son of Cardinals pitching coach Dave. His given name is David and Shelley is his middle name.

However, the Yankees are having him make his major league debut tonight in New York and he's batting ninth and playing DH. I thought that was an unusual way to make one's debut. A lot of players start off in the #9 hole in the AL, but usually not as DH.

And as far as I can tell, Duncan is just the fifth player to do so. The last player to do so was Guillermo Quiroz for Toronto on September 4, 2004. The other players to do it were B.J. Upton, Pete LaForest, and Shawn Green.

The 2002 Yankees started the DH in the #9 hole more than any other team, 31 times.


PanAm Games final taken by Cuba (updated)
2007-07-20 11:17
by Bob Timmermann

Apparently, you had to get up mighty early in the morning to catch it (I didn't), but Cuba won the PanAm games gold medal in baseball, their 10th straight, with a 3-1 win over the USA before a crowd of 224 in Rio de Janeiro.

I found a boxscore here.

Update - Before the game, Fidel Castro mused about how hard it was for Cubans to win anything in the PanAm games. It's translated into English. Let's just say it's unusual.

Here also is an AP account of the game. Apparently it started at 9 am Rio time. So a crowd of 224 people to watch a sport that few of them understand on a work day at 9 am is not hard to believe.

CL pitchers almost perfect in first Japanese All-Star Game
2007-07-20 08:49
by Bob Timmermann

In the first game of the baseballl All-Star Games in Japan, the Central League's pitchers faced just 28 hitters as they cruised to a 4-0 win over the Pacific League at the Tokyo Dome.

The PL leadoff hitter Tsuyoshi Nishioka led off the game with an infield single and was caught stealing. Then with two outs, CL starter Koji Uehara hit Greg LaRocca with a pitch. After that, every PL batter was retired. Japanese language box score for the game.

There will be a second game played Saturday in Sendai.

Just three hits is all we need
2007-07-19 21:33
by Bob Timmermann

San Diego beat Philadelphia tonight at PETCO Park 1-0. This was the fifth 1-0 win for the Padres this year. The last team to pull off that feat was the 2002 Angels. Chris Young has started all five games for the Padres, but only has credit for two of the wins. The most 1-0 wins in a season by any pitcher is five, by several pitchers, the last one being Dean Chance in 1964. Chance is the only pitcher among the group not to have all the wins be complete games. Walter Johnson won 38 games in his career by a 1-0 margin. Greg Maddux leads all active pitchers with 1-0 complete game wins with 11.

The alltime record for 1-0 wins in a season will likely survive. The 1914 Washington Senators won 14 1-0 games. The 1908 Pirates hold the NL record with 10 1-0 wins.

The Padres have also won five games in which they have picked up three or fewer hits. In the last 50 years, seven teams have now done that with the 1998 Dodgers being the last team to pull it off.


US threatens forfeit of PanAm games final
2007-07-19 12:09
by Bob Timmermann

The final in the baseball tournament between the US and Cuba for the Pan American Games gold medal was postponed today because of a soggy field in Rio de Janeiro. US coach Eric Campbell has said that he will forfeit the final if the game is not played Friday.

However, Campbell's protest isn't political, but rather contractual. The U.S. National team is scheduled to play China in Mobile, Alabama on Sunday and the U.S. team needs to time to get out of Brazil and over to Alabama.

"The field has to be fit for play and if there is any more rain that won't happen," Campbell told Reuters. "Our flight is leaving at 6:20 pm on Friday and we have no option but to be on it because we have a contract to play China on July 22nd.

Earlier post about Pan American Games baseball.

Additional note: You can try to watch the final on streaming video through Cuban TV at this link. The game is supposed to start at 8:45 am ET. That would be 9:45 am local time in Rio.

TV review: The Bronx is Burning
2007-07-19 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

At the risk of stealing the thunder of people who either write about TV for a living, or people who know a lot more about the New York Yankees, I'll give my two cents about this ESPN miniseries, based on the book Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning by Jonathan Mahler.

I've seen two episodes of the 8-part series and the best I can say is that it's fairly good for an ESPN Entertainment production. It may be better than "A Season on the Brink," but I doubt that it's going to be earning any Emmy nominations.

Continue reading...

US to play Cuba in Pan Am games baseball final
2007-07-18 23:19
by Bob Timmermann

Cuba shoots for its tenth straight Pan American Games gold medal Thursday against the USA in the championship game in Rio de Janeiro.

The US has finished second six times during that stretch. The USA won the gold only once, back in 1967, when the games were held in Winnipeg. Players on that team included current Stanford coach Mark Marquess, future major league player John Curtis, and former USC quaterback and catcher Steve Sogge.

The baseball venue in Rio isn't the fanciest as you can see from this clip of a Mexico-Panama game.

Brazilian baseball (beisebol in Portuguese) is heavily influenced by Japanese immigrants. This clip is an example of it:

Notable comings and goings
2007-07-18 15:20
by Bob Timmermann

The Los Angeles Angels have finally tired of Ervin Santana's inconsistent pitching (or perhaps it was just consistently poor) and have dispatched him to Salt Lake City to go work on things. Catcher Mike Napoli was activated from the DL.

And 48-year old Julio Franco has been signed by the Braves.


The Play, July 2007 version
2007-07-18 11:33
by Bob Timmermann

Ken Levine, who was filling in on the Mariners broadcast team, called 2007's most unusual play of the year. He posted a video of the call on his website.

It was the third play described in this post.

The Games of Mystery
2007-07-18 09:34
by Bob Timmermann

Today's game between the Rockies and Pirates is not being televised by either team. So is this game actually taking place?

Tomorrow's game between Arizona and Milwaukee is not being televised either.

I'm suspicious. Just what do these teams have to hide?

Moss and Brosnan interviews
2007-07-18 07:43
by Bob Timmermann

Maury Brown, who runs The Biz of Baseball blog, has part one of an interview with former MLBPA general counsel and player agent Dick Moss.

Some highlights:

Bizball: Walter O’Malley

Moss: Well, Walter O’Malley is an especially interesting man. I am so appalled that both Walter O’Malley and Marvin Miller are not in the Hall of Fame.

O’Malley – for as long as Kuhn was thereO’Malley ran baseball. He was the most powerful force in baseball. There were many who used to call him the crocodile. What they were referring to was that he would take positions on various things and it would be like if you were going in one direction and then he went in another direction and then he went in another direction until he ended up where he wanted to be and he really controlled the others. That was all true in the Kuhn administration.


Bizball: Gussie Busch

Moss: Gussie Busch was, uh… I think he was appalled about the idea that players would have a union. There was a time when a labor dispute ended in a strike. And at a owner’s meeting Gussie sat up and made this long ranting speech about how they had to take the players on, and not compromise. Walter O’Malley at one point stood up and said, “Gussie, sit down.” And that was the end of that.

Over at LA Observed, Dave Davis interviews Jim Brosnan, author of The Long Season and Pennant Race, two of the best baseball books I've ever read. These were the first books written by a player with a real look at how a season unfolded.

LAO: What was the reaction to the book by fellow ballplayers – and did you lose any friends because of the book?

JB: I didn't lose any friends. There were a couple guys that I didn't like -– and they didn't like me -– and it remained that same way.

Joe Adcock hit a home run off me and said, "Stick that in your book." That got around: Frank Thomas said to me, "Stick that in your book." For me, it got to be a pleasurable joke.

Joe Garagiola was quoted as saying that I was a traitor. I heard that from a couple other people, who didn't know what "traitor" meant in the first place. It never became a serious thing. Since then, Joe apologized when we were getting into the Emil Verban Memorial Society. [Verban was a second baseman for, among other teams, the Cubs.] He said, "I take that all back. Your book was funny." Of course, he wrote a book called, Baseball Is a Funny Game.



Germanic language named relievers for $500, Alex
2007-07-17 13:38
by Bob Timmermann

The Chicago White Sox recalled reliever Ehren Wassermann (full name Ehren Josef Wassermann) from Charlotte and demoted Neil Masset.

Wassermann is from Alabama and was signed by the White Sox at an open tryout in 2003.

Also, the Florida Marlins have recalled Dutch pitcher Rick Vanden Hurk and designated the delightfully named Wes Obermueller for assignment. Obermueller never faced Bill Mueller in a major league game in a battle of guys who have names that should be pronounced similarly, but aren't.

Yes, I do know that Dutch and German aren't the same. Please reread the headline.


A time of sacrifice
2007-07-16 19:39
by Bob Timmermann

Sacrifice flies, that is.

The Rockies and Pirates combined for five sacrifice flies, tying the major league record, in Colorado's 10-8 win over Pittsburgh at PNC Park. Matt Holliday had two for Colorado as did well as one for the Rockies center fielder (see the boxscore for his name). Adam La Roche and Xavier Nady had Pittsburgh's sacrifice flies.

Five sacrifice flies in a game happens quite a bit. In fact the last game with five sacrifice flies happened on July 3 when Kansas City routed Seattle 17-3.

The Rockies and Pirates "combined" for five sacrifice flies in a game last year on June 7, 2006. Except Colorado had all five. Seattle also had five sacrifice flies in a game on August 7, 1988 against Oakland.

Random Record of the Week #16
2007-07-16 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Page 62 – Fewest games played by league leader as first baseman – AL, Vic Power, Cleveland, 124 games, 1959; NL, Ed Bouchee, Philadelphia, 134 games.
(This record is for seasons where full 154 or 162 game seasons were completed)

This record, which can kindly be described as obscure, was of interest to me because both leagues reached their low water marks for first basemen playing in games in the same season. Just what was going on with that position in 1959? Was there some conspiracy to keep anyone from playing a full season at first base? Were there no good first basemen in the majors that year? Was there a rash of crippling injuries that only hit first basemen in 1959?

As it turns out there were some very good first basemen in the majors that year, including several Hall of Famers. But for various reasons, managers in 1959 liked to keep moving people all over the diamond.

Continue reading...

Enhanced Gameday? Enjoy it while you can? Or do you enjoy it?
2007-07-15 00:19
by Bob Timmermann

While I've never been fond of the "Enhanced Gameday" from, it's clear that some people are crazy about it.

In the New York Times "Keeping Score" column, Dan Rosenheck describes how some researchers and scouts are poring over the data, presumably using computers that have a lot more RAM and processing power than mine.

Some work has also been done on identifying batters’ tendencies: Iván Rodríguez swings at nearly 60 percent of pitches thrown to him out of the strike zone, and Juan Pierre makes contact with 92 percent of the balls out of the zone he swings at, for example.


“Will chase curveballs low and away” will become “swung and missed at 73 percent of pitches thrown under 83 m.p.h. with a vertical break of at least 12 inches on two-strike counts on the outer third of the plate.”

“Slider lacks bite” could be replaced by “slider begins to break 30 feet from home plate.”


The possibilities for use of the data are virtually endless — assuming, of course, that it remains publicly available. Although no changes are expected while the system is in development, Schwartz would not guarantee that it would always be accessible for free to the public, saying that “upper management” would eventually decide whether to charge for the information. While there is little doubt that the 30 major league teams can have the data if they want it, the broader statistically minded fan base — and the army of independent researchers included in it — may be shut out.

Shut out? But what would happen to my pFX jokes? Those were comedy gold!

There's is no truth to the rumor that is attempting to tell people more quickly what actually happened in the game.



Chris Young vs. Chris Young
2007-07-14 21:32
by Bob Timmermann

Tall Chris Young (6'10") of San Diego faced Short Chris Young (6'2") of Arizona for the second time in their careers tonight. The game was at Chase Field.

  • 1st inning - Short Young flies out to center
  • 4th inning - Short Young strikes out
  • 6th inning - Short Young pops out to left

Career totals for Short Chris Young against Tall Chris Young - 0 for 6, 1 K.

Arizona's Tony Pena has never faced Kansas City's Tony Pena.

If my mom had done his laundry, this wouldn't have happened
2007-07-13 15:55
by Bob Timmermann

If I had ever left anything in my pockets when I put a pair of pants in the laundry, I would get a lecture from my mother about how if she hadn't noticed it, I would either have ruined what it was or, even worse, ruined the washer (or as my mom would say, "warshing machine") and dryer.

It looks like Braves reliever Wil Ledezma would have run afoul of my mom too. He has been placed on the restricted list by the Braves after his work visa was damaged in what is described as a "washing accident." He should be back with the Braves next week. Jose Ascanio, who presumably emptied his pockets before tossing his laundry in, was recalled from AA-Mississippi to fill in.

Ledezma will also be told to separate the whites from the colors while back home in Venezuela and told which clothes need to be washed as delicates.

After a long drought, baseball comes back to Eugene
2007-07-13 12:27
by Bob Timmermann

After not fielding a baseball team since 1981, the University of Oregon will make the Pac-10, a 10-team school for baseball again staring starting in 2009.

Dave Roberts, (the second of four Dave Roberts to play in the majors) was a #1 pick in the 1972 draft out of Oregon.

22 major leaguers have played college ball for the Ducks.

HoJo, not Rickey, to coach Mets hitters
2007-07-13 10:43
by Bob Timmermann

Howard Johnson will be the Mets new hitting coach and Rickey Henderson will be the first base coach, Tim Brown reports on Yahoo! Sports.

Johnson replaces Rick Down, who was fired in the Great Batting Coach Purge of 2007, along with Arizona hitting coach Kevin Seitzer. Down, Seitzer, and Eddie Murray have all been exiled to a top secret hitting re-education camp in North Dakota. Further attempts to determine its location have been rebuffed by MLB officials.

Run, somebody, run?
2007-07-13 08:04
by Bob Timmermann

Last night's abbreviated schedule had three unusual running plays.

In the first one, Mets outfielder Lastings Milledge scored from first on a single by Ruben Gotay to center against Cincinnati. Milledge's run proved to be the difference in the Mets' 3-2 win over the Reds. You can pull up video of it here.

Skipping over to the Metrodome, Torii Hunter of the Twins got an RBI single-DP against Oakland. With Michael Cuddyer on third and Justin Morneau on first, singled to left to score Cuddyer. Morneau was caught in a rundown between second and third and was tagged out by Mark Ellis, who then threw back to Bobby Crosby at second where Hunter was tagged out, for the 7-6-4-6 DP. In theory, the video should be here, but it seems to be a little balky this morning. It should be under "Video Top Plays" and is called "Hunter starts DP."

Then, to top off the day in Seattle, Adrian Beltre of Seattle bats with two outs in the fifth and the bases loaded against Andrew Miller of Detroit. Jose Vidro is on third, Jose Guillen on second, and Richie Sexson on first. Beltre singles to right and Vidro scores easily. Magglio Ordonez throws home, but is late trying to catch Jose Guillen at the plate. Tigers catcher Mike Rabelo (who had replaced the ejected Ivan Rodriguez), throws down to shortstop Carlos Guillen covering second to catch Beltre trying to move up. Beltre appears to slide in safe around Guillen's tag. Umpire Bruce Froemming throws his hands out indicating safe.

But Beltre overslides second and Carlos Guillen tries to tag him. But Froemming says he missed him. So Beltre runs to third and Guillen tries once, twice, and three more times to tag Beltre, apparently to no avail. By this time, Sexson is heading home and Carlos Guillen drops the ball and Beltre goes to third. The Mariners plate three.

Jim Leyland argues the play. Carlos Guillen argues the play. People are flummoxed. Leyland tells Miller to appeal the play at second saying that Beltre missed the bag. And Froemming rules that Beltre missed second and is out. Sexson's run counts since the appeal was on a trailing runner and Beltre was not out for missing first.

Replays showed Beltre touching second with his hand. And it's possible that Carlos Guillen got two tags on Beltre. Judge for yourself here.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times was very harsh on Froemming in his blog.

Beltre made it all the way to third as Guillen threw up his arms in frustration, disbelieving that Froemming missed the tag call so many times. But then, before another pitch could be thrown, an appeal was made by the Tigers at second and Froemming ruled that Beltre had missed the bag and was indeed out. More arguments followed. A replay appeared to show that Beltre had touched the bag with his fingers before sliding on by it. In which case, he would have to be tagged to be out. Not 100 percent sure Froemming missed both calls. Maybe Beltre did miss the bag. But the bottom line is, Froemming was out of position on both of the calls. By several feet. I hope MLB is paying attention to what's going on. That's all I'll say about one of the game's very veteran umpires.

In Froemming's defense, the action that was taking place was quite unusual and it's pretty hard for any umpire, who is trained to stand in certain places to look at particular plays, has some idea of where to stand to watch a play where the shortstop is chasing the baserunner close to the edge of the skin of the infield. Unless Baker expected Froemming to start umpiring the game like Lt. Frank Drebin/Enrico Palazzo did in "Police Squad" when he was trying to delay the seventh-inning stretch, I don't know what Froemming was supposed to do.



Giants apparently will stick with Sabean
2007-07-12 19:53
by Bob Timmermann

Despite two off years, San Francisco GM Brian Sabean is going to get a multiyear extension to his contract from owner Peter Magowan.

Sabean's first order of business is to wait for a phone call from Kenny Williams telling him that A.J. Pierzynski would like to come back to San Francisco and that he would only want Tim Lincecum in return.

The top-secret Barry Bonds cloning project is coming along nicely in Brazil also.

Catching up on news you probably already knew
2007-07-12 18:18
by Bob Timmermann

David Wells of the Padres was suspended for seven games for his shenanigans after his ejection on July 7.

Former NL umpire Shag Crawford passed away at age 90.

David Eckstein is back!

Danys Baez is back!

Brad Lidge is back!

Josh Hamilton is hurt.

Julio Franco is gone.


Documentary Review: "Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush"
2007-07-11 23:17
by Bob Timmermann

I’ve often wondered if the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1940s and 1950s truly existed. Fans from Brooklyn speak of the team in a manner ascribing them with qualities that extended well beyond the confines of Ebbets Field.

They are referred to not just in terms of civic pride, but also almost with the same fanatical devotion as the most zealot adherents to any major religion. HBO’s documentary “Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush,” skirts the edges of this view of Brooklyn Dodger fandom, but manages to bring some voices of reason and reality to provide a semblance of balance.


Continue reading...

The best finish to a minor league game ever? Or any game?
2007-07-11 19:33
by Bob Timmermann

Reader Elliot Smilowitz pointed me to this blog posting in the New York Daily News by Adam Rubin back on June 24. In particular this part:

Mike Nickeas, obtained from the Rangers for Victor Diaz last Aug. 30, has been demoted from Double-A Binghamton to high-A St. Lucie. He contributed to baseball history before he left. Nickeas was called for catcher’s interference Wednesday with the bases loaded and two out – the first time a game ended on that call in organized baseball history, according to Reading Phillies officials. ....

That led me to double check the boxscore for the game, which was played on June 20 in Reading. It was the second game of a doubleheader so it was just a 7-inning game, according to minor league rules. And the batter did get an RBI in that situation.

The official log of the game for the bottom of the 7th reads:


  • Mike Spidale singles on a line drive to right fielder Caleb Stewart.
  • Jesus Merchan out on a sacrifice bunt, pitcher Robert Paulk to first baseman Mike Carp. Mike Spidale to 2nd.
  • Robert Paulk intentionally walks Michael Costanzo.
  • Randy Ruiz grounds into a force out, shortstop Jose Coronado to second baseman Enrique Cruz. Mike Spidale to 3rd. Michael Costanzo out at 2nd. Randy Ruiz to 1st.
  • Robert Paulk intentionally walks Greg Jacobs. Randy Ruiz to 2nd.
  • Jason Hill reaches on catcher interference by Mike Nickeas. Mike Spidale scores. Randy Ruiz to 3rd. Greg Jacobs to 2nd. Jason Hill to 1st.

And according to the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin:

In Wednesday night's regularly scheduled game, the Phillies won, 3-2, when catcher's interference was called on Mike Nickeas with two out and the bases loaded in the seventh inning. Reading's Jason Hill lined out to the shortstop when catcher's interference was called.


Fog out ends minor league All-Star game
2007-07-11 19:20
by Bob Timmermann

The Eastern League (AA) All-Star game in Norwich, Connecticut was called off after two innings because of heavy fog. The score was believed to be 2-2 at the time.

According to Kevin Thomas in,

The game should not have been started, but officials were hoping for some kind of miracle. No chance. Outfielders stood still when balls were hit, not having a clue where they were.

From the bio of Kevin Thomas "He is married to Nancy, and the couple recently completed their lineup card with the birth of their ninth child."

The most dangerous job in the NL West
2007-07-11 19:02
by Bob Timmermann

The Arizona Diamondbacks fired hitting coach Kevin Seitzer today and replaced him with Rick Schu.

"We felt a change was an appropriate decision based on our offensive struggles," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said. "Kevin Seitzer gave us tremendous passion and effort. Rick Schu has history with a lot of our players, and we feel he can help us improve our performance."

40% of the hitting coaches in the NL West from the start of the year are gone. Merv Rettenmund, Joe Lefebvre, and Alan Cockrell have already registered with for hitting coaches.

For a while, I thought Rick Schu was the greatest player ever. I saw him play twice. Once was this game. Then I saw him at this game. Fortunately, I was not hired as a scout.


Where's the ash?
2007-07-11 13:51
by Bob Timmermann

Baseball bat makers are worried that the supply of ash could be hurt by the arrival of the ash borer beetle in the forests of North America, according to a New York Times article.

“No more ash?” said Juan Uribe, a Chicago White Sox shortstop, whose batting coach says he speaks to his ash bats every day. Uribe is so finicky about his bats, teammates say, that he stores them separately in the team’s dugout and complains bitterly if anyone else touches them.

Uribe has other problems with ash. He's at 232/288/360 this season.



Was Pujols really that upset?
2007-07-11 07:37
by Bob Timmermann

Rick Hummel's article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch leads me to believe that at most Albert Pujols's anger at Tony La Russa for not getting into the All-Star game was really just "anger." And it could be La Russa who is actually more angry at his own player.

"I was ready," said Pujols. "I was born ready Maybe he wanted to play the other guys and maybe he didn't want to leave the other guys out. Maybe if he would have played me and left another guy out, they would have said, 'Why did he play Albert instead of the other guy?'

"I was loose and ready to go. Maybe he was saving me for next year's All-Star Game."

Though disappointed, Pujols was laughing at this point.

La Russa was told about Pujols' generally genial mood but still couldn't fathom Pujols' surprise at not playing. And La Russa, biting his words, clearly was not laughing.

"Albert was the guy who was going to do whatever we needed," said La Russa. "If Albert doesn't understand that, I'm surprised and disappointed. It isn't that tough a thing. I explained his role to him before the game.

"Let me ask you this. If we go to extra innings, who's going to be our player to move around and play? Can Dmitri move around and play? Or is Albert going to do that? Who's the most versatile guy not playing? It's Albert. It isn't even that tough. He'll figure it out sooner or later.

When the dust settles, this is not likely to turn in to a situation like 1993 where Baltimore fans booed Cito Gaston for not using Mike Mussina in the game. La Russa doesn't have to worry about his own fans booing him for not using Pujols. St. Louis fans already have a love/hate relationship with La Russa and even winning the World Series didn't change that.




Knotty Problem of Baseball #3
2007-07-10 12:00
by Bob Timmermann

The situation: the Detroit Tigers have Omar Infante on third and Brandon Inge on first with none out and Curtis Granderson at the plate. It's a 1-1 game in the seventh in Detroit with the Yankees visiting. Andy Pettitte is on the mound.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland gives Granderson the squeeze sign. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was already playing in and is charging on the play. Infante breaks for home, but Rodriguez is breaking with him. Pettitte is a bit confused and throws home after a hesitation, but Rodriguez is already in front of home plate. The pitch is caught by Rodriguez in front of the plate.

So, what do you do now if you're the home plate umpire?

Again this play is adapted from a situation in this book.


Baseball player smuggler gets five years
2007-07-10 10:15
by Bob Timmermann

Baseball agent Gustavo "Gus" Dominguez received a minimum five-year sentence from a Federal judge today in Los Angeles after being convicted in April of 12 diffferent crimes involving the smuggling of Cuban refugees to the United States.

In the AP article (empasis mine):

More than a dozen family members, friends and members of the sports industry wrote to the judge on behalf of Dominguez, including Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, Washington Nationals pitcher Jason Simontacchi and Chicago Cubs catcher Henry Blanco.

I hope they saved Koufax's letter for the end, or else the rest is anticlimax.


The leaders at the break
2007-07-10 04:00
by Bob Timmermann


Stop, Thief, Stop!

American League

  1. Derek Jeter (Yankees) - 7
  2. Carl Crawford (Devil Rays), Carlos Guillen (Tigers) - 6

National League

  1. Jose Reyes (Mets) - 11
  2. Juan Pierre (Dodgers) - 9
  3. Hanley Ramirez (Marlins), Willy Taveras (Marlins) - 8


Two for the price of one
American League

  1. Aaron Hill (Blue Jays) - 16
  2. Nick Markakis (Orioles), Melvin Mora (Orioles), Jose Vidro (Mariners) - 15

National League

  1. Orlando Hudson (Diamondbacks) - 18
  2. Carlos Lee (Astros) - 17
  3. Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) - 16


American League

  1. Grady Sizemore (Indians) - 91
  2. Curtis Granderson (Tigers), Sammy Sosa (Rangers) - 82

National League

  1. Adam Dunn (Reds) - 105
  2. Ryan Howard (Phillies), Dan Uggla (Marlins) - 96

I Really Meant to Do That
American League

  1. Orlando Cabrera (Angels) - 7
  2. Mike Lowell (Red Sox), Alex Rios (Blue Jays), Bobby Abreu (Yankees), Victor Martinez (Indians) - 6

National League

  1. Carlos Lee (Astros) - 13
  2. Five players with 7

My manager made me do it
American League

  1. Corey Patterson (Orioles) - 7
  2. Melky Cabrera (Yankees), Coco Crisp (Red Sox), Ian Kinsler (Rangers), Julio Lugo (Red Sox) - 6

National League

  1. Juan Pierre (Dodgers) - 10
  2. Roy Oswalt (Astros), Ian Snell (Pirates), Omar Vizquel (Giants) - 9

OUCH, &^$&&!!&@@!
American League

  1. Alex Gordon (Royals) - 12
  2. Ryan Garko (Indians), Grady Sizemore (Indians) - 11

National League

  1. Chase Utley (Phillies) - 15
  2. Aaron Boone (Marlins) - 13
  3. Aaron Rowand (Phillies) - 12


Just Showing Up

American League

  1. Michael Young (Rangers) - 361
  2. Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners) - 357
  3. David DeJesus (Royals) - 354

National League

  1. Jimmy Rollins (Phillies) - 388
  2. Juan Pierre (Dodgers) - 373
  3. Dan Uggla (Marlins) - 361

Do I Even Need a Bat?

American League

  1. Vladimir Guerrero (Angels) - 20
  2. Travis Hafner (Indians) - 12
  3. Sean Casey (Tigers) - 9

National League

  1. Barry Bonds (Giants) - 30
  2. Ryan Howard (Phillies) - 22
  3. Albert Pujols (Cardinals) - 11

Pull Up a Chair, These At Bats Will Take A While

American League

  1. Johnny Damon (Yankees) - 4.41
  2. Reggie Willits (Angels) - 4.38
  3. Nick Swisher (Athletics) - 4.32

National League

  1. Todd Helton (Rockies) - 4.36
  2. Albert Pujols (Cardinals) - 4.21
  3. Ryan Howard (Phillies) - 4.20

Don't Blink or You'll Miss Them

American League

  1. Corey Patterson (Orioles) - 3.16
  2. Vladimir Guerrero (Angels) - 3.17
  3. Kenji Johjima (Mariners) - 3.26

National League

  1. Johnny Estrada (Brewers) - 3.02
  2. Miguel Olivo (Marlins) - 3.14
  3. Dmitri Young (Nationals) - 3.36




Turn Around and Watch It Go

American League

  1. Ervin Santana (Angels) - 23
  2. James Shields (Devil Rays) - 19
  3. Daniel Cabrera (Orioles), Johan Santana (Twins) - 17

National League

  1. Woody Williams (Astros) - 21
  2. Cole Hamels (Phillies) - 20
  3. Rich Hill (Cubs) - 18

I Was Pitching Around Him ... A Lot

American League

  1. Daniel Cabrera (Orioles) - 61
  2. Scott Kazmir (Devil Rays) - 58
  3. Robinson Tejeda (Rangers) - 49

National League

  1. Doug Davis (Diamondbacks) - 59
  2. Noah Lowry (Giants) - 55
  3. Carlos Zambrano (Cubs) - 54

Don Drysdale Was Here

American League

  1. Justin Verlander (Tigers) - 12
  2. Daniel Cabrera (Orioles) - 10
  3. A.J. Burnett (Blue Jays), John Lackey (Angels) - 9

National League

  1. Carlos Zambrano (Cubs) - 9
  2. 5 players with 7

It's Not My Fault That the Catcher Didn't Stop It

American League

  1. Justin Verlander (Tigers) - 10
  2. Robinson Tejeda (Rangers) - 8
  3. Jeremy Bonderman (Tigers) - 7

National League

  1. Aaron Harang (Reds) - 9
  2. Matt Cain (Giants), Tim Lincecum (Giants) - 8

I Guess I Wouldn't Have This Problem If I Didn't Let Runners Get To Third

American League

  1. Joe Kennedy (Athletics) - 7
  2. Roy Halladay (Blue Jays), Scott Proctor (Yankees), Dan Haren (Athletics) - 6

National League

  1. Jeff Suppan (Brewers) - 8
  2. 6 players with 6

I'll Give You That Base In Exchange For This Out

American League

  1. Daniel Cabrera (Orioles) - 7
  2. Mike Mussina (Yankees), Shawn Camp (Devil Rays) - 5

National League

  1. Livan Hernandez (Diamondbacks), Jason Marquis (Cubs) - 10
  3. 4 players with 9

Runners, what runners? I'm supposed to pay attention to runners?

American League

  1. A.J. Burnett (Blue Jays) - 23
  2. Tim Wakefield (Red Sox) - 20
  3. Roy Halladay (Blue Jays), Mike Mussina (Yankees) - 14

National League

  1. Chris Young (Padres) - 26
  2. Greg Maddux (Padres) - 22
  3. Brandon Webb (Diamondbacks) - 15

I've got a bad feeling about this

American League

  1. Todd Jones (Tigers), Matt Thornton (White Sox), Joel Peralta (Royals), Chris Ray (Orioles) - 4

National League

  1. Chad Cordero (Nationals), Salomon Torres (Pirates), Brian Fuentes (Rockies) - 6




American League

  1. Gerald Laird (Rangers) - 8
  2. John Buck (Royals) - 7 (includes two catcher's interference calls)
  3. Ramon Hernandez (Orioles), Mike Napoli (Angels) - 5

National League

  1. Russell Martin (Dodgers), Brian McCann (Braves) - 8 (McCann has two catcher's interference calls)
  3. Michael Barrett (Padres), Miguel Olivo (Marlins) - 6


American League

  1. Gerald Laird (Rangers) - 9
  2. Paul Bako (Orioles), Jason Kendall (Athletics) - 6

National League

  1. Bengie Molina (Giants) - 11
  2. Miguel Olivo (Marlins) - 10
  3. Michael Barrett (Padres) - 9


American League

  1. Matt Stairs (Blue Jays) - 5
  2. Miguel Cairo (Yankees), Dan Johnson (Athletics), Carlos Pena (Devil Rays) - 4

National League

  1. Prince Fielder (Brewers) - 10
  2. Dmitri Young (Nationals) - 9
  3. Conor Jackson (Diamondbacks), Albert Pujols (Cardinals) - 7


American League

  1. Ian Kinsler (Rangers) - 14
  2. B.J. Upton (Devil Rays) - 12
  3. Josh Barfield (Indians) - 10

National League

  1. Jeff Kent (Dodgers) - 10
  2. Orlando Hudson (Diamondbacks) - 9
  3. 3 players with 7


American League

  1. Mike Lowell (Red Sox) - 13
  2. Four players with 9

National League

  1. Miguel Cabrera (Marlins), Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) - 13
  3. Kevin Kouzmanoff (Padres) - 12


American League

  1. Yuniesky Betancourt (Mariners) - 19
  2. Carlos Guillen (Tigers) - 16
  3. Jason Bartlett (Twins) - 15

National League

  1. Hanley Ramirez (Marlins) - 16
  2. Alex Gonzalez (Reds) - 14
  3. Rafael Furcal (Dodgers) - 12

E7 or E8 or E9

American League

  1. Delmon Young (Devil Rays) - 6 (3 each in RF and CF)
  2. 3 players with 5

National League

  1. Bill Hall (Brewers) - 8 (all in CF)
  2. Juan Encarnacion (Cardinals) - 6 (all in RF)
  3. 3 players with 5


American League

  1. Jose Contreras (White Sox) - 4
  2. 3 players tied with 3

National League

  1. Brandon Webb (Diamondbacks) - 4
  2. 3 players tied with 3

It's the pitcher's fault!

American League

  1. Jorge Posada (Yankees) - 61
  2. Jason Kendall (Athletics) - 58
  3. Jason Phillips (Blue Jays) - 43

National League

  1. Josh Bard (Padres) - 52
  2. Michael Barrett (Padres) - 49
  3. Russell Martin (Dodgers) - 46




The Scott Boras EP, available in vintage stores now
2007-07-10 01:05
by Bob Timmermann

Scott Boras, fresh off suggesting the World Series turn into a 9-game affair with the first two games at a neutral site, wants baseball to establish a new stat for defense called "EP" for "exceptional play."

As explained by Boras to Bill Shaikin in the Los Angeles Times:

Boras proposes the "EP," for exceptional play. The official scorer would be asked to distinguish between an exceptional play and a routine one in the same way he is asked to distinguish between a hit and error.

In that way, Boras said, fans can debate whether a play should merit an "EP" and compare a player with 20 EPs to another with 10 EPs, whether an EP saved a game just as a big hit might have won it. The only common defensive statistic is an error, he says, and zone ratings and other such new defensive metrics are neither instantly identifiable or widely understood.

Oh Lord, please give me the strength to withstand dumb ideas like this. Just why would the EP be more understood than any other fielding statistic? Because it's a counting stat?

What sort of standard would be used? All I know is that the last paragraphs of the story sent shivers down my spine:

The EP, Boras said, should be an easy sell.

"ESPN has told us we need to do this," he said. "They have web gems."

Yep, baseball needs to have more plays decided by the whims of ESPN producers.

Next Boras will suggest that football give out an extra point for a touchdown that was really hard to score. And maybe four points for a basket that looked cool. And maybe just half a goal in soccer if you score on a penalty, but four goals if you score on a bicycle kick and three on a volley with your off foot!


Random Record of the Week #15
2007-07-09 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Most games played in one season, Cleveland Indians – Leon Wagner, 163, 1964

When Leon Wagner was traded from the Los Angeles Angels to the Cleveland Indians during the 1963 winter meetings for pitcher Barry Latman and first baseman Joe Adcock, he was not happy. Wagner was quoted in news sources as saying "I wished I had been traded somewhere in the United States."

Wagner was one of the first hitting heroes for the expansion team Angels, hitting 91 home runs in three seasons for the Angels. His 37 home runs in 1962 was the Angels team record until 1982 when Reggie Jackson hit 39. (The current record is 47 by Troy Glaus in 2000.) Wagner was also the MVP of the second 1962 All-Star Game, going 3 for 4 with a home run. Wagner did not cut a graceful figure in the field and Jim Murray said he looked more like a bowler than a baseball player, especially when on defense.

Continue reading...

Buehrle signs new deal with White Sox
2007-07-08 13:39
by Bob Timmermann

Fans of teams needing pitching help can cross Mark Buehrle off their list after he signed a four-year deal with the White Sox. No details yet. Ken Rosenthal reports that Buehrle did not receive a no-trade clause.

Another Knotty Problem of Baseball
2007-07-07 22:11
by Bob Timmermann

Again this is adapted from the 1970 version of the Sporting News Knotty Problems of Baseball. The names used are solely to victimize the innocent.

It's the top of the first inning in Pittsburgh and the Marlins have loaded the bases with Hanley Ramirez on third, Dan Uggla on second, and Miguel Cabrera on first. Josh Willingham is at bat against Tom Gorzelanny. However, on the batting order turned in it at the beginning of the game, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez wrote in the name of Joe Borchard in the cleanup spot. Willingham should be batting fifth.

Ramirez notices Gorzelanny winding up and breaks for home. He easily beats the pitch home as Pirates catcher Ronny Paulino stands dumbfounded. Gorzelanny is rattled and he balks and Uggla and Cabrera move up to second and third.

Gorzelanny is still flummoxed and he throws a wild pitch and Uggla chugs home. Paulino tries to throw to Gorzelanny at the plate, but the throw deflects off of Gorzelanny's gloves and rolls away toward the dugout. By the time the ball is chased down, Cabrera scores.

By this time, Gorzelanny wants to give up and he hangs a curve for Willingham who clobbers it over the fence.

Aha! But now Pirates skipper Jim Tracy comes out and notices that Willingham was the improper batter. It should have been Borchard. Tracy appeals before Borchard comes to bat.

The few thousand people at PNC Park and a few hundred compulsive gamblers are waiting on the umpire's call. What do you rule?

Fuentes out, Webb in on NL All-Star team
2007-07-07 15:15
by Bob Timmermann

Brian Fuentes of Colorado has begged out of the NL All-Star game with a minor arm injury which he insists had nothing to do with his four consecutive blown saves.

Brandon Webb of Arizona will replace him on the roster.

Padres activate Bradley
2007-07-07 12:30
by Bob Timmermann

The San Diego Padres activated Milton Bradley from the disabled list and he will be making his first start for the Padres Saturday afternoon at home against the Braves. Bradley will be in left field.

Doug Brocail was also activated from the disabled list and Terrmel Sledge and Kevin Hampson were sent back to Portland.

The cheapest win? The toughest loss? The cheapest save?
2007-07-07 11:07
by Bob Timmermann

Going back through's Play Index, I was looking for the lowest game score for any pitcher who ended up with the win.

And in the last 50 years, that appears to be Woody Williams, pitching for the Padres in Colorado, who was credited with a win despite a game score of 12. The game was played on April 7, 2001.

The Padres trailed the Rockies, behind Mike Hampton, 9-6, going into the sixth when the Padres scored five runs, the last three on a home run by Phil Nevin off of reliever John Wasdin. Williams had a double in the rally as the Padres took an 11-9 lead.

Williams came out to pitch the sixth and gave up a single to Neifi Perez and was relieved by Donaldo Mendez, who only allowed one run to score in the inning to cut the lead to 11-10.

The Padres won the game 14-10 with Trevor Hoffman picking up a one-out save when he came in to retire Ben Petrick with two runners on in the bottom of the ninth.

The higest game score for a losing pitcher in the last 50 years (and it's likely the highest ever) is, unsurprisingly, Harvey Haddix. He posted a 107 in his famous loss to the Braves on May 26, 1959.

The cheapest save, in my opinion, goes to Dave Goltz, who on June 6, 1973 pitching for the Twins in Cleveland, gave up 8 runs in 3 innings. Goltz gave up four home runs in the game, which the Twins won 13-9. 8 runs in the most runs any pitcher has given up since the save became an official statistic in 1969.

Really cheap saves.

Keeping the scoreboard operator busy
2007-07-06 17:58
by Bob Timmermann

In Minnesota's 20-14 win over the White Sox today, the teams scored in 14 of the 18 half-innings:

Minnesota at Chicago, 1st Game of DH, July 6, 2007

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Minnesota 4 1 1 6 2 0 4 2 0 20
Chicago 0 3 1 0 3 1 2 1 3 14

This tied an AL record that had been done earlier on:

Chicago at Detroit, July 2, 1940

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Chicago 0 2 1 2 1 1 1 0 1 9
Detroit 2 0 1 2 1 2 1 1 X 10


St. Louis at Detroit, April 23, 1927

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
St. Louis 0 1 2 3 1 5 2 0 1 15
Detroit 1 0 1 2 2 1 1 2 0 10

Baltimore at Philadelphia, May 7, 1901

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Baltimore 1 1 1 0 1 4 1 3 2 14
Philadelphia 4 1 0 1 1 2 0 1 0 10

The NL had two games in the 1890s where teams scored in 15 half-innings. Philadelphia at Detroit on July 1, 1887 (Detroit won 17-13) and Boston at Washington on June 22, 1894 (Washington won 26-12 and scored in all nine times at bat. Washington opted to bat first, which was the home team's option at the time.) That line score is at the end thanks to Sam DC!

Notes about the 1927 Browns-Tigers matchup. According to the AP account of the game, Detroit used 21 players and six pitchers, which was an unheard of amount for the era. The game lasted 2 hours and 58 minutes. Also Browns rookie Fred Schulte was called out in the third inning for batting out of turn, he was the #5 hitter. The winning pitcher for the Browns, Sad Sam Jones, lasted just 4 1/3 innings (he was the starter, but the five-inning minimum rule was not in place). Jones gave up 5 hits and walked 8. Three Browns relievers walked five more. Detroit made six errors. Charlie Gehringer played in both the 1927 and 1940 game for the Tigers.

Sources: Sporting News Complete Baseball Record Book, Retrosheet, New York Times, Washington Post

Boston at Washington, June 22, 1894 (Washington batted first)

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
Washington 4 1 7 4 2 4 1 1 2 26
Boston 2 1 1 0 0 2 4 2 0 12
Not a good start to the day
2007-07-06 12:50
by Bob Timmermann

Jon Garland of the White Sox gave up 12 runs (11 earned) in 3 1/3 innings of work in the first game of a doubleheader against the Twins today.

This makes Garland the first pitcher to give up 12 runs as a starter since September 25, 2006 when ... Jon Garland gave up 12 runs in a start against Cleveland.

Jason Marquis gave up 12+ runs in TWO starts last year.

And we must pay respects to Mike Oquist who has the lowest game score of any starting pitcher in the last 50 years. Oquist scored a -21 for this outing in 1998 against the Yankees while pitching for Oakland. Garland's outing today was a -8. Or possibly -11,  (it was indeed -11) I lost track after a while.

Neifi nailed for illegal stimulant
2007-07-06 08:08
by Bob Timmermann

Tigers infielder Neifi Perez has been suspended 25 games for testing positive for an illegal stimulant. Perez was 11 for 64 on the season and had appeared in just 33 games, so it's possible he was just trying to stay awake. 

Five GIDPs and no two of them are alike
2007-07-05 19:31
by Bob Timmermann

The Arizona Diamondbacks lost to the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium tonight, 3-2. The D-Backs grounded into five double plays in the game, including one by Miguel Montero to end the game.

The five DPs went:

  1. 6-3 (Ryan to Pujols)
  2. 5-4-3 (Rolen to Miles to Pujols)
  3. 3-6-3 (Pujols to Ryan to Pujols)
  4. 1-6-3 (Wainwright to Ryan to Pujols)
  5. 4-6-3 (Miles to Ryan to Pujols)

This is the first time a team had grounded into five DPs (in a 9-inning game) that all were scored differently since April 21, 1989 when the Red Sox did so at Kansas City. Those five were:

  1. 6-3 (Stillwell to Buckner)
  2. 6-4-3 (Stillwell to White to Buckner)
  3. 5-4-3 (Pecota to White to Buckner)
  4. 5-3 (Pecota to Buckner)
  5. 4-3 (White to Buckner)

Other teams have had five different combinations of players turn ground ball double plays in a game, but that happened because of substitutions.

The most GIDPs in one game by one team in a 9-inning game is 7 by the San Francisco Giants at Houston on May 4, 1969. The Astros had six different permutations of DPs in that game with only 6-4-3 appearing twice. The Astros even had a  3-4 DP.

Somebody's got it in for this position
2007-07-05 17:48
by Bob Timmermann

Mets left fielders:

Ricky Ledee and David Newhan will now be manning left field for the Mets.

And the 'Last Men' are ...
2007-07-05 16:04
by Bob Timmermann
OPS+ or OPS- ?
2007-07-05 11:27
by Bob Timmermann

The Florida Marlins placed pitcher Josh Johnson on the 15-day disabled list after yesterday's game and replaced him with outfielder Eric Reed. In 55 ABs, Reed has batted .109 with no extra base hits.

Reed has an OPS+ (park adjusted OPS) of -20. Which is not the lowest for a non-pitcher with at least as many at bats.

That dubious distinction belongs to Cincinnati infielder Enrique Cruz who has a -36 OPS+. Cruz had one AB for the Reds in April before being sent back down.

There are 20 non-pitchers with at least 55 ABs with a negative OPS+. Besides Reed, there is one other position player on a 25-man roster with a negative OPS+, Yankees catcher Wil Nieves.

Players with at least 55 ABs and an OPS+ at 0 or lower who are not pitchers.


The final push for the Final Man
2007-07-05 10:09
by Bob Timmermann

The voting for the "Final Man" for the All-Star team ends today at 2 pm PT.

And one of the candidates really wants to go:

But even if Neshek doesn't win, he can just wait for the inevitable injuries that will knock out players. In the NL, John Smoltz became the first player to officially withdraw.

Alex Rodriguez is likely to drop out.

Not that either of these players would open up a spot for Neshek. Smoltz's spot will definitely open up a spot for the Tall Chris Young, who is likely going to win the vote anyway. (The spot was taken by Roy Oswalt.) A-Rod's absence would require another third baseman unless Jim Leyland wants to stick one of his shortstops (none of whom are named Orlando Cabrera) at third base. Or possibly Casey Blake. Or maybe we can get nine innings of Mike Lowell.

Knotty Problems of Baseball question
2007-07-05 09:00
by Bob Timmermann

I am adapting this question from the 1970 version of Knotty Problems of Baseball. The names were added to victimize the innocent.

Jack Cust is on first base for the Athletics with one out. Eric Chavez hits a drive to deep center field. Cust assumes that the ball will fall in and is halfway to third. But no! Vernon Wells makes a spectacular catch. Cust now tries to get back to first. But on his way back to first, he misses second. Wells spins and throws the ball back to the first, but his throw sails over the head of Curtis Thigpen and the ball rolls into the dugout. Cust gets back to first. But now Bob Geren is out claiming that Cust is entitled to third because of the bad throw. John Gibbons wants his team to appeal that Cust missed second.

How do you sort out this mess?

The alltime small sample size ERA champs
2007-07-04 12:30
by Bob Timmermann

Kevin Cameron of the Padres has started his major league career by giving up just one earned run in his first 27 innings of work. Adam LaRoche drove in Jason Bay in a game on May 29.

Here are the top 10 pitchers alltime in ERA with a minimum of 27 IP (starting today):

  1. Kevin Cameron 0.33
  2. Hideki Okajima 0.88
  3. Jonathan Papelbon 1.55
  4. Pat Neshek 1.77
  5. Ed Walsh 1.82
  6. Takashi Saito 1.83
  7. Addie Joss 1.89
  8. Jack Pfiester 2.02
  9. Joe Wood 2.03
  10. Martin Glendon 2.05
Other news from across the pond
2007-07-04 10:49
by Bob Timmermann

Continuing my traditional celebration of Independence Day by reporting on matters from outside the United States, I will pass along two notes from the other side of the Pacific:

Mr. 868
2007-07-04 00:50
by Bob Timmermann

Bruce Wallace of the Los Angeles Times interviews Sadaharu Oh, Japan's alltime home run leader with 868. Oh comes across as an open-minded man who recognizes how his accomplishments fit into baseball as a whole.

"I am the man who hit the most home runs — in Japan," he says diplomatically. "The Japanese media want to describe me as the true record holder. But I never considered myself that way.

Oh also is not one to condemn Barry Bonds.

"Yes, I feel sorry for him," Oh says of Bonds. "At that time, steroids were not banned. Did all players who took steroids hit more home runs?

"Of course they're not a good thing, and young players should be told they're bad," he says. "[Bonds] made a mistake, and he has to accept that steroids will follow him the rest of his life. But I suppose he's not taking them now, and he's still hitting home runs at age what, 43, 44?" (Bonds turns 43 this month.)

"You can't change what happened in the past. And the fact is: He hit those home runs," Oh says.

Oh is back managing the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks after missing much of the 2006 season after having his stomach removed due to cancer.

Oh's career line from

Tough night's work for Cla Meredith
2007-07-03 21:05
by Bob Timmermann

In a 4-4 game in San Diego, Padres manager Bud Black removed starter Greg Maddux in the top of the seventh with runners on second and third and one out and Miguel Cabrera due up. Meredith threw four intentional balls to Cabrera.

Black comes out again and takes out Meredith and replaces him with lefty Royce Ring to face the left-handed hitting Mike Jacobs. And Ring struck out Jacobs, but then threw a wild pitch with Josh Willingham up to let one run score, intentionally walked Willingham, then unintentionally walked Jeremy Hermida to force in another run.

Meredith was the third pitcher this season whose only batter faced in a game was an intentional walk. Jimmy Gobble of the Royals did so against the Cardinals on June 20 and Trever Miller did it for Houston against Milwaukee on April 20.

Recent pitchers who have just had an IBB and nothing else in a game recently. The list has more lefties than righties on it.


Johnson returns to the DL
2007-07-03 15:28
by Bob Timmermann

After a less-than-stellar performance against the Dodgers in his last start (3 IP, 6 H, 4 R), Randy Johnson is going back on the disabled list with back pain. Yusmeiro Petit will make the start for Arizona in Johnson's stead tonight in St. Louis.

The Baha'i salute their best player
2007-07-03 14:00
by Bob Timmermann, the official website of the Baha'i faith, profiles one of its most famous adherents, Padres shortstop Khalil Greene, aka Mr. Greene.

Mr. Greene is a member of the Baha'i Faith, which, as he has stated in previous interviews, has helped him in his baseball career. An intriguing statement, considering that it is widely believed in professional sports, especially among the "old school," that "getting religion" hampers a player's career, makes him less hungry to achieve and takes away his killer instinct.

Mr. Greene might beg to differ. He notes that "work done in the spirit of service is considered worship in the Baha'i Faith, and therefore it is not a separate area of my life."

Like other members of the Baha'i Faith, he studies the Baha'i Scriptures, known simply as the Writings, and prays every morning and evening, even during a game. And not the "Please God, just this once, I'll never ask for another thing again" variety. Rather it's to keep balance and not get too excited when things are going well or downcast when they're not.

FAQs about the Baha'i faith.

There has not been an article in L'Osservatore Romano yet about Jeff Suppan. But that paper doesn't have a good search engine.


Three hits is all we ask
2007-07-02 21:36
by Bob Timmermann

San Diego defeated Florida Monday 3-1 and picked up just three hits. None of the three runs were driven by a hit either as two scored on fielder's choices and another on a sacrifice fly.

This is the fourth time this season the Padres have won a game with three or fewer hits. In the other three, the Padres won with just TWO hits.

The Padres are the first team since the 1988 Houston Astros to win four games in a season with three or fewer hits. The most interesting boxscore in that group is this one. Since 1957, six teams have won five games with three or fewer hits, most recently the 1998 Dodgers.

You can look at the list of teams here that have won multiple games in a season with three or fewer hits.

The Blue Jays have won three games this season with three or fewer hits.

Fungoes pinch hitting
2007-07-02 08:59
by Bob Timmermann

Despite the misspelling of my name, FIXED! That is indeed me who filled in for Jon on his Fungoes blog.

It's a delightful romp through the NL West division complete with a story about Mike Garman.



The 1957 All-Star Game comes to Japan
2007-07-02 07:30
by Bob Timmermann

Fan voting for the All-Star Series (there are two games) in Japan was completed and the Rakuten Golden Eagles, a third year expansion team playing in Sendai, got EIGHT players named to the team. (They could only find seven guys for the photo.)

The Golden Eagles are presently in fifth place in the six-team Pacific League with a record of 31-39-2 and are 10 games out of first. But the team does have a loyal fanbase apparently.

No one is calling for Japanese officials to change the roster as Commissioner Ford Frick did in 1957 when Cincinnati fans stuffed the ballot box and got seven Reds chosen for the eight available positions. Eventually, Frick ordered Gus Bell and Wally Post to be replaced as NL starters by Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.


Random Record of the Week #14
2007-07-02 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Page 77 – Most triples play, season, league – AL, 10, 1979

Thanks to the excellent work of Chuck Rosciam and Frank Hamilton details of every triple play in the history of the major leagues is available from Retrosheet.

So here are the details of the 1979 triple plays, the triple playingest year of them all in the AL. The NL has never had more than seven in any one season and that hasn't happened since 1929. Perhaps they have faster runners or they hit fewer line drives in the NL. But I'm chalking it up to chance.

Continue reading...

Complete and efficient
2007-07-01 19:45
by Bob Timmermann

Scott Baker of the Twins lost to the Tigers in Detroit tonight, 1-0, despite tossing a complete game. Baker needed just 79 pitches to make it through his eight innings of work.

The last pitcher to throw a complete game in a game that went at least nine innings and threw 80 pitches or fewer was Rich Harden of Oakland, who needed just 80 pitches to beat the Rangers, 6-0, on July 14, 2005. Carlos Silva of Minnesota needed just 76 pitches in a 7-1 win over the Brewers on May 20, 2005.

Another manager leaves his job, this time involuntarily
2007-07-01 19:20
by Bob Timmermann

The Cincinnati Reds fired manager Jerry Narron today. The Reds have the worst record in the majors at 31-51. Pete Mackanin will take over as interim manager tomorrow when the Reds travel to host San Francisco.

More on Hargrove's resignation
2007-07-01 19:13
by Bob Timmermann

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times is skeptical of Mike Hargrove's reasoning for resigning today. He thinks that Hargrove was getting ready to quit earlier.

But then, sitting here on our plane, I thought about it from a different perspective. Forget all the conspiracy theories about Hargrove being pushed out of his job to get John McLaren in there. Forget any talk about a power struggle, or of management having wanted to make this change much earlier and now becoming timid that it may never get another chance if the team keeps winning.

Let's all assume that Hargrove is telling the truth. That he really did first tell GM Bill Bavasi about these thoughts a few weeks back. That would have dated to right around the time the team left on its previous road trip. Seattle had just blown a lead and lost at home to Baltimore, then won a couple of games in San Diego. It was another four-city road swing, the kind that sucks the life out of you. I described it amply a couple of weeks back when seeking a reason for why the M's had dropped the last five games of the trip. Hargrove could very well have been feeling burned out at that point. Don't forget, the team was still slipping well behind the Angels (making up four games so quickly is extremely rare) and was a good distance behind in the wild-card race. All of that has changed in a hurry, with Seattle doing the unexpected of sweeping the Boston Red Sox and taking two games out of two from the Toronto Blue Jays to start this current series. There was very little to foreshadow this a couple of weeks ago.

U.S.S. Mariner didn't seem to care much one way or the other.

Lookout Landing isn't going to miss Hargrove, but they were happy Hargrove went out a winner.



All-Stars announced
2007-07-01 15:05
by Bob Timmermann

Ladies and gentlemen, commence arguing! Lone representatives from teams are indicated in italics.

American League


  • C - Ivan Rodriguez
  • 1B - David Ortiz
  • 2B - Placido Polanco
  • SS - Derek Jeter
  • 3B - Alex Rodriguez
  • OF - Vladimir Guerrero
  • OF - Magglio Ordonez
  • OF - Ichiro Suzuki

Reserves - Victor Martinez, Jorge Posada, Justin Morneau, Brian Roberts, Carlos Guillen, Michael Young, Mike Lowell, Carl Crawford, Torii Hunter, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rios, Grady Sizemore

Pitchers - Josh Beckett, Dan Haren, Bobby Jenks, John Lackey, Gil Meche, Jon Papelbon, J.J. Putz, Francisco Rodriguez, C.C. Sabathia, Johan Santana, Justin Verlander

Final vote candidates - Jeremy Bonderman, Kelvim Escobar, Roy Halladay, Pat Neshek, Hideki Okajima.

National League


  • C - Russell Martin
  • 1B - Prince Fielder
  • 2B - Chase Utley
  • SS - Jose Reyes
  • 3B - David Wright
  • OF - Carlos Beltran
  • OF - Ken Griffey
  • OF - Barry Bonds

Reserves - Brian McCann, Dmitri Young, Albert Pujols, Derrek Lee, Orlando Hudson, J.J. Hardy, Miguel Cabrera, Freddy Sanchez, Carlos Lee, Matt Holliday, Aaron Rowand, Alfonso Soriano.

Pitchers - Brad Penny, Jake Peavy, Francisco Cordero, Trevor Hoffman, John Smoltz, Jose Valverde, Takashi Saito, Cole Hamels, Ben Sheets, Billy Wagner, Brian Fuentes

Final vote candidates - Tom Gorzelanny, Roy Oswalt, Brandon Webb, Chris Young (San Diego variety), Carlos Zambrano

Report: Hargrove to resign as Mariners skipper (UPDATES)
2007-07-01 10:41
by Bob Timmermann

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times is reporting that Mariners manager Mike Hargrove is going to resign today. The Mariners will hold a press conference at 11:30 am PT to announce this.

More to follow.

Update 1 - Sports Ticker confirms the report and says John McLaren will take over as manager after today's game.

Update 2 - The Mariners website reports that Hargrove said in a statement that his "passion has begun to fade" and it would not be "fair to myself or the team" to continue.

Update 3 - In a press conference, Hargrove asserts that he just had lost his passion for the job and there are no other reasons for his resignation. He felt that if he wasn't giving his best on the job, he can't ask his players to do so. He thought that his players could tell this in recent days. He had been mulling the decision for about 10 days.

Update 4 - Mariners GM Bill Bavasi said he tried to talk Hargrove out of the decision and said the team wasn't prepared for the change.

Update 5 - Hargrove insisted his health was fine and he truly had just lost his passion. New manager John McLaren sensed something was up about a week to 10 days ago when Hargrove seemed to be less interested in the outcomes of the games. Hargrove is not having a dispute with management or his players.

Batting ninth, the designated hitter ...
2007-07-01 10:06
by Bob Timmermann

The Oakland Athletics are starting Kurt Suzuki as their designated hitter and he's in the #9 slot.

So, I thought to myself, why bother with a DH if he's going to bat ninth? But it does happen. Doesn't it?

Indeed it does. It's already happened 12 other times this season. The player who most frequently started as a DH and batted ninth was Nick Johnson, who did it 26 times for the Yankees in 2002 and once more in 2003. Orlando Palmeiro did it 21 times for the Angels in 2000 and 2001. From now on, 2000-2003 will not be called "the Steroid Era", but rather "the #9 hitting DH Era."

The #9 DHs alltime. The list is best read when accompanied by banjo music.


Tigers acquire Capellan from Milwaukee
2007-07-01 09:25
by Bob Timmermann

The Tigers continued the revamping of their bullpen by acquiring Jose Capellan from the Brewers in exchange for minor league pitcher Chris Cody.

Capellan had been unhappy with the Brewers after being demoted to Nashville to start the season, but had pitched with the big club for the last month. The emergence of Yovani Gallardo for the Brewers made it easier for them to deal Capellan.

The Tigers have been hurt by injuries to Joel Zumaya, Fernando Rodney, Tim Byrdak, and the fact that Todd Jones really isn't all that good anymore.

Scully speaks about Scully
2007-07-01 08:34
by Bob Timmermann

With Jon still living away from his computer and likely discovering that his children don't work with mouse clicks,  I thought I'd put up a link to this interview with Vin Scully by Paul Oberjuerge of the San Bernardino Sun. It's an interesting read about a man who just seems to be happy to be along for the ride with the rest of us.

Q: Have you considered writing an autobiography?

A: Oh, no. No. No. Well, I think partly ... it's really too much trouble. I don't really feel that I want to spend a lot of time talking about me. I've already spent a lifetime talking. I don't have any drive ... I think you have to have some drive to know that there's going to be a book with your name on it on a shelf. I have none of that at all. So, no. I've had many suggestions by writers that they would like to do a book and I've said "I don't think so, no."


Q: Does it surprise you that many people cannot envision the Dodgers without Vin Scully?

A: I can understand that. I remember growing up in New York, as a kid, the New York Yankees were Mel Allen, and the Brooklyn Dodgers were Red Barber. The Giants became Russ Hodges. But Allen and Barber, they were so closely identified with their teams, so I understood that. I never ever thought it would happen to me because, first of all, I never thought I would be around that long doing the games. It never entered my mind. But when you realize that I've been here in Los Angeles all these years, starting in the Coliseum, which turned out to be a great break for a couple of reasons. When we went to the Coliseum, it was also the advent of the transistor radio, and people would be sitting 79 rows away. And they'd heard of Stan Musial and they'd heard of Willie Mays, but they didn't know the rank and file. Now they had the convenience of the transistor radio, so they would sit so far away and listen to me. And eventually, over the years, you think of this man as this team and this team as this man. But to me, it's just a natural thing and nothing more. I don't puff up about it at all. Because it could have been someone else, very easily, who arrived here around the same time under the same circumstances and it would have been his good fortune instead of mine.

A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
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